Why was Vader's identity kept secret

PSW: discuss Star Wars without "versus" arguments.

Moderator: Vympel

Post Reply
User avatar
Darth Yan
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 1629
Joined: 2008-12-29 02:09pm
Location: Cali

Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by Darth Yan » 2017-09-21 06:06pm

In both legends and canon Vader's past as Anakin was hidden; wouldn't anakin make a good pr tool? Why hide that?

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 14996
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-09-21 06:07pm

My guess is a combination of keeping Vader as disconnected from his previous identity as Anakin as possible, and not wanting to muddle Imperial propaganda about all the Jedi being evil traitors.

Edit: Plus, what is scarier than the unknown? Vader is a faceless menace. Call him Anakin, and suddenly he becomes a person, with a history and flaws and limits.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

User avatar
Lord Revan
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 10921
Joined: 2004-05-20 02:23pm
Location: Zone:classified

Re: Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-09-21 10:10pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2017-09-21 06:07pm
My guess is a combination of keeping Vader as disconnected from his previous identity as Anakin as possible, and not wanting to muddle Imperial propaganda about all the Jedi being evil traitors.

Edit: Plus, what is scarier than the unknown? Vader is a faceless menace. Call him Anakin, and suddenly he becomes a person, with a history and flaws and limits.
I dunno how it's in current canon but IIRC in legends Vader's past identity was "a jedi defector" officially, that said in legends it was fairly typical for sith lords to at least try to hide their previous identities to prevent anyone from using those against them.
I may be an idiot, but I'm a tolerated idiot
"I think you completely missed the point of sigs. They're supposed to be completely homegrown in the fertile hydroponics lab of your mind, dried in your closet, rolled, and smoked...
Oh wait, that's marijuana..."Einhander Sn0m4n

User avatar
B5B7
Jedi Knight
Posts: 709
Joined: 2005-10-22 02:02am
Location: Perth Western Australia
Contact:

Re: Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by B5B7 » 2017-09-22 05:28am

If it was known his true name was Anakin, people would start calling him Ani, like his wife did.
Now in the SW galaxy, that might not have any bad connotations, but in our universe of movie watchers it does, and would demean the character.
Then also if in universe his true identity is known, then an enemy might be able to research that to find a weakness from his past.
TVWP: "Janeway says archly, "Sometimes it's the female of the species that initiates mating." Is the female of the species trying to initiate mating now? Janeway accepts Paris's apology and tells him she's putting him in for a commendation. The salamander sex was that good."
"Not bad - for a human"-Bishop to Ripley
GALACTIC DOMINATION Empire Board Game visit link below:
GALACTIC DOMINATION

Simon_Jester
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 30102
Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm

Re: Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by Simon_Jester » 2017-09-22 06:27am

Also, Vader is a deeply miserable and tormented man. There is no past triumph he can think of, without shame and regret. Nothing that isn't commingled with the things he destroyed with his own hand in the process of ruining his life. He almost certainly does NOT want to be reminded of his past in any way, shape, or form.
This space dedicated to Vasily Arkhipov

JLTucker
BANNED
Posts: 3043
Joined: 2006-02-26 01:58am

Re: Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by JLTucker » 2017-09-22 07:34am

B5B7 wrote:
2017-09-22 05:28am
If it was known his true name was Anakin, people would start calling him Ani, like his wife did.
Now in the SW galaxy, that might not have any bad connotations, but in our universe of movie watchers it does, and would demean the character.
Then also if in universe his true identity is known, then an enemy might be able to research that to find a weakness from his past.
I’m pretty sure his mom called him that as well.

Ralin
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2365
Joined: 2008-08-28 04:23am

Re: Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by Ralin » 2017-09-22 08:17am

I mean, was it really that huge of a secret? Just off the top of my head, in Shadows of the Empire (the old EU is the real story in my book, don't care what anyone else says) Prince Xizor recognized Skywalker as Vader's old name. Xizor was pretty informed as beings go, but the Rogue Squadron books showed us an Imperial propaganda museum where an exhibit straight up says "Vader was the only Jedi who did the right thing and turned against his brothers to follow the Emperor" or something like that. I figure a lot of it wasn't keeping Vader's identity a strict secret so much as a consequence of the fact that for a long time talking about or reading up on the Jedi was... discouraged.

User avatar
RogueIce
_______
Posts: 13252
Joined: 2003-01-05 01:36am
Location: Tampa Bay, Florida, USA
Contact:

Re: Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by RogueIce » 2017-09-22 01:05pm

Ralin wrote:
2017-09-22 08:17am
I mean, was it really that huge of a secret? Just off the top of my head, in Shadows of the Empire (the old EU is the real story in my book, don't care what anyone else says) Prince Xizor recognized Skywalker as Vader's old name. Xizor was pretty informed as beings go, but the Rogue Squadron books showed us an Imperial propaganda museum where an exhibit straight up says "Vader was the only Jedi who did the right thing and turned against his brothers to follow the Emperor" or something like that. I figure a lot of it wasn't keeping Vader's identity a strict secret so much as a consequence of the fact that for a long time talking about or reading up on the Jedi was... discouraged.
The old EU was wildly inconsistent in how much anyone knew (as it was inconsistent in a lot of things lol), but even then it (mostly) kept to Vader not being widely known as Anakin.

For your X-wing example, a later book by the same author had Luke revealing that Vader=his father to his Jedi Academy students be a major revelation, so I doubt that scene implies what you think it does.
Image
"How can I wait unknowing?
This is the price of war,
We rise with noble intentions,
And we risk all that is pure..." - Angela & Jeff van Dyck, Forever (Rome: Total War)

"On and on, through the years,
The war continues on..." - Angela & Jeff van Dyck, We Are All One (Medieval 2: Total War)
"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." - Ambrose Redmoon
"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." - Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight

Ralin
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2365
Joined: 2008-08-28 04:23am

Re: Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by Ralin » 2017-09-22 05:44pm

RogueIce wrote:
2017-09-22 01:05pm
For your X-wing example, a later book by the same author had Luke revealing that Vader=his father to his Jedi Academy students be a major revelation, so I doubt that scene implies what you think it does.
I don't remember Corran shocked by finding out that Luke was Vader son in I, Jedi as opposed to the bit about Luke claiming that Vader was ultimately a good person, but it has been a long time.

User avatar
Zixinus
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 6590
Joined: 2007-06-19 12:48pm
Location: In Seth the Blitzspear
Contact:

Re: Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by Zixinus » 2017-09-24 08:35am

Then also if in universe his true identity is known, then an enemy might be able to research that to find a weakness from his past.
What weakness of his past? As far as anyone knows, everyone in his past is dead and there is nobody to be used against him. With a quite a lot of them by his hand.

Except for his two children who themselves don't know who their father was (I wonder what Leila was told, come to think of it).
Credo!
Chat with me on Skype if you want to talk about writing, ideas or if you want a test-reader! PM for address.

User avatar
Galvatron
Decepticon Leader
Posts: 6012
Joined: 2002-07-12 12:27am
Location: Kill! Smash! Destroy! Rend! Mangle! Distort!

Re: Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by Galvatron » 2017-09-24 02:17pm

More importantly, why did the Emperor let Anakin be publicly known as Darth Vader? To my knowledge, Palpatine and Dooku both concealed their Sith names from everyone else. Why did the Emperor flaunt the fact that he had a full-blown Sith Lord in his employ?

My only guess is that he had managed to turn public sentiment against the Jedi so well that he was able to get away with allying himself with their sworn enemy without undermining his own popularity. Maybe this is also why he concealed Vader's true identity as a famous Jedi Knight.

User avatar
Batman
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 15254
Joined: 2002-07-09 04:51am
Location: 'Very' mildly hopeful now DC recognized taking Clark's red trunks away was a bad idea
Contact:

Re: Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by Batman » 2017-09-24 04:59pm

Did the general public even know Darth was a Sith title at that point?
'Next time I let Superman take charge, just hit me. Real hard.'
'You're a princess from a society of immortal warriors. I'm a rich kid with issues. Lots of issues.'
'No. No dating for the Batman. It might cut into your brooding time.'
'Tactically we have multiple objectives. So we need to split into teams.'-'Dibs on the Amazon!'
'Hey, we both have a Martian's phone number on our speed dial. I think I deserve the benefit of the doubt.'
'You know, for a guy with like 50 different kinds of vision, you sure are blind.'

Q99
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2010
Joined: 2015-05-16 01:33pm

Re: Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by Q99 » 2017-09-24 05:42pm

Part of it is to disconnect him from his past, part of it is to emphasize the Jedi are dead, and part of it is because the image of Darth Vader is *scary*.

The constructed image of Darth Vader is one of the Empire's more potent weapons.

User avatar
tezunegari
Jedi Knight
Posts: 541
Joined: 2008-11-13 12:44pm

Re: Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by tezunegari » 2017-09-25 06:28am

Galvatron wrote:
2017-09-24 02:17pm
My only guess is that he had managed to turn public sentiment against the Jedi so well that he was able to get away with allying himself with their sworn enemy without undermining his own popularity. Maybe this is also why he concealed Vader's true identity as a famous Jedi Knight.
How much did the public know about the Sith during the last 1000 years of the Republic? (which I like to refer to as the Ruusan Age)
While "Chancelor Palpatine" apparently officially knew about the Sith he was also the head of the republic and might have gotten briefed by the Jedi.
At least after his inauguration and the death of Maul which made the Jedi believe the Sith were back.

I always got the feeling that the Jedi attempted to remove the knowledge/teachings of the Sith from the galaxy.

And even during the Old Republic before the return of the Sith Empire most people considered all Lightsaber-users as Jedi... they made no distinction between Jedi and Sith and considered Revans war a Civil war.
"Bring your thousands, I have my axe."
"Bring your cannons, I have my armor."
"Bring your mighty... I am my own champion."
Cue Unit-01 ramming half the Lance of Longinus down Adam's head and a bemused Gendo, "Wrong end, son."
Ikari Gendo, NGE Fanfiction "Standing Tall"

User avatar
Lord Revan
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 10921
Joined: 2004-05-20 02:23pm
Location: Zone:classified

Re: Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by Lord Revan » 2017-09-25 09:31am

tezunegari wrote:
2017-09-25 06:28am
Galvatron wrote:
2017-09-24 02:17pm
My only guess is that he had managed to turn public sentiment against the Jedi so well that he was able to get away with allying himself with their sworn enemy without undermining his own popularity. Maybe this is also why he concealed Vader's true identity as a famous Jedi Knight.
How much did the public know about the Sith during the last 1000 years of the Republic? (which I like to refer to as the Ruusan Age)
While "Chancelor Palpatine" apparently officially knew about the Sith he was also the head of the republic and might have gotten briefed by the Jedi.
At least after his inauguration and the death of Maul which made the Jedi believe the Sith were back.

I always got the feeling that the Jedi attempted to remove the knowledge/teachings of the Sith from the galaxy.

And even during the Old Republic before the return of the Sith Empire most people considered all Lightsaber-users as Jedi... they made no distinction between Jedi and Sith and considered Revans war a Civil war.
It also be noted that Palpatine (or at least his public persona) is something of a history buff and as such would probably be more informed about things like Sith order/empire then your average Galactic Republic citizen (I mean how much does your average US citizen truly know about history). Your average Republic citizen might not know about the fact that "darth" is a sith title/honorific.

Your average Galactic Republic/Empire citizen or even average senator or governor might only be aware of the Sith as this vague historical "bad guy" so while it wouldn't be profitble for Palpatine to be openly a Sith Lord (IIRC even in current canon the identity of Palpatine as Darth Sideous is a secret one) having a fallen jedi who uses a sith honorific might actually boost Palpatine's image since to the public it would seem that a normal non-Force user human from Naboo was able to get a powerful Force user to be utterly loyal to him.
I may be an idiot, but I'm a tolerated idiot
"I think you completely missed the point of sigs. They're supposed to be completely homegrown in the fertile hydroponics lab of your mind, dried in your closet, rolled, and smoked...
Oh wait, that's marijuana..."Einhander Sn0m4n

User avatar
Civil War Man
NERRRRRDS!!!
Posts: 3626
Joined: 2005-01-28 03:54am

Re: Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by Civil War Man » 2017-09-25 10:46am

Batman wrote:
2017-09-24 04:59pm
Did the general public even know Darth was a Sith title at that point?
Unlikely, considering that knowledge about the Force is portrayed as fairly esoteric. The Jedi weren't particularly numerous to begin with, and were pretty insular in practice. A lot of people are portrayed as fairly ignorant of what the Force can do, and tales about Jedi are depicted as being prone to exaggeration. On top of that, Palpatine engaged in a campaign to erase any knowledge about the Jedi and the Force from the public consciousness, and he seemed to be fairly successful.

For example:
1. While he had a sheltered upbringing in a remote farm on a backwater planet, Luke hadn't even heard of the Force until ANH. It means that nobody at Anchorhead ever mentioned the Force during that time either in conversation, in passing, or even as an interjection.
2. Han was significantly more well-traveled, so he had heard of the Jedi, but he didn't believe that the Force existed and thought stories about it were fanciful tales.
3. Motti was a member of the Empire's Joint Chiefs and head of the Imperial Navy, so we're talking an official in the highest levels of the Imperial military. He was dismissive of the Force and its capabilities and viewed the Jedi as a defunct religion on par with Greek or Norse mythology here on Earth. Or, at least he did until Vader started choking him from across the room.

User avatar
NeoGoomba
Sith Devotee
Posts: 3161
Joined: 2002-12-22 11:35am
Location: Upstate New York

Re: Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by NeoGoomba » 2017-09-27 03:16pm

Wasn't Anakin Skywalker also heralded as the one "loyal" Jedi that defended Palpatine and the Republic? Youd think having both the Emperor and his most loyal defender physically ravaged and disfigured by the treacherous Jedi would be a great propaganda tool.

What was the official story of Anakin's "death", anyway?
"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it. Fifteen hundred years ago everybody knew the Earth was the center of the universe. Five hundred years ago, everybody knew the Earth was flat, and fifteen minutes ago, you knew that humans were alone on this planet. Imagine what you'll know...tomorrow."
-Agent Kay

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 14996
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-09-28 03:21pm

I think I read somewhere that he "officially" died during Order 66, fighting on Palpatine's side. But I don't recall the source. Probably decanonized old EU.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

User avatar
Elheru Aran
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 12297
Joined: 2004-03-04 01:15am
Location: Georgia

Re: Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by Elheru Aran » 2017-09-28 04:19pm

I want to say that in the Dark Lord novel (been AGES since I read that so grain of salt, etc) they were starting to spread the story that Anakin 'uncovered' the Jedi treachery, saved Palpatine, but was killed in the process. Since there was such a short time between that and his crippling, the only wrinkle was how to explain Vader away... and I don't recall that they ever did in the novel, but like I said, long time.
It's a strange world. Let's keep it that way.

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 14996
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: Why was Vader's identity kept secret

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2017-09-29 11:20pm

Could be Dark Lord. It was a favourite of mine in the old EU, but I haven't read it for a while.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

Post Reply